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Becoming an Athena SWAN Ireland Panellist or Observer

Every Athena SWAN Ireland application is reviewed by a panel. Panellists read the applications, assess them against criteria and then meet to discuss their assessments and agree whether to recommend that an award is conferred and at what level.

What do panellists and observers do?

Every Athena SWAN Ireland application is reviewed by a panel.

Panellists read the applications, assess them against criteria and then meet to discuss their assessments and agree whether to recommend that an award is conferred and at what level. 

Observers can witness the panel process. This role can be especially helpful for those working towards an Athena SWAN application. Observers do not take part in the decision-making process and do not vote, though may be asked for their opinions on submissions after decisions have been made.

Who can be a panellist and/or observer?

Awards panels will usually be made up of four people, and review up to five (usually four) applications per sitting.

To qualify as a panellist you need to work or have recently worked in the higher education (HE) sector. Depending on the role, consultants that work in HE sector may not qualify to become a panellist. 

Anyone eligible to become a panellist can be an observer.

In constructing the panel Advance HE seek to achieve appropriate representation, considering the gender balance, and ensuring we have representation of experienced and new panellists. Advance HE draws panellists from the following groups of people:

  • academic, research and technical services staff
  • human resources or equality and diversity practitioners with experience of higher education
  • other professional services staff with experience of higher education
  • specialists (for example industry and research institute representatives, members or employees of learned and professional societies and gender equality specialists as appropriate)
  • students.

Why become a panellist?

Participating in an Athena SWAN Ireland panel gives you an invaluable insight into the assessment process. You will come away with a more detailed understanding of how panels work and insight into how other institutions analyse their data and make progress on their action plan. Reading through multiple applications will also provide you with good practice ideas which could be implemented in your institution.

Becoming a panel member also gives you an opportunity to share your equality and diversity knowledge and/or subject expertise with peers from other institutions. It is an opportunity to build your professional networks and knowledge of equality and diversity.

What does being a panellist involve?

You will need to do complete online panellist training before being able to be assigned to a panel. Currently, the Athena SWAN Ireland training is an online webinar that will take 35 minutes to complete. You will also need to read the panellist guidance so you should allow an hour in total to read the guidance and watch the webinar. You will receive this information via a panel pack of resources.  These resources can also be found in the Athena SWAN Ireland information pack.

If you are assigned to a panel, you will be required to read in detail up to five (usually four), Athena SWAN Ireland submissions in advance of an assessment panel day. As a guideline, each submission may take three to four hours to read and assess in advance of the panel.

You will be required to join an online assessment panel, which are currently scheduled to last 3 hours and take place via Zoom. 

During the meeting, the panel considers each application in turn, led by a chair drawn from the panel. There is also a moderator from Advance HE, who does not have a vote. 

How to become a panellist?

If you have registered your interest, we will let you know when we are seeking new panellists. You will then need to complete the request to receive a panellist application pack. This pack will contain all of the necessary information and guidance on acting as an Athena SWAN Ireland panellist.

In the lead up to panels we email all potential panellists with an availability poll, which potential panellists must complete by the deadline specified. At this time, you must also update your Declaration of Interest should there be any changes (for example if you have moved institution). You must also ensure that you have completed the panellist training within the last two years.

Once we have received all the submissions and planned the panel compositions, we will email all panellists that have been assigned to a panel with the date and the panel information. We also email all potential panellists who have not been assigned to panels this round to let them know.

Please note that panel places are limited in each round, and conflicts of interest must be accounted for on all panels, therefore we cannot guarantee panel allocation to all registered panellists.

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Register your interest to become a panellist and/or observer for Athena SWAN Ireland

Complete the form below and we will email when we are recruiting new panellists and observers. 

Please include your discipline and/or subject area if applicable

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